Feature photo: Julia Udine in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me on a Sunday at the Walnut Street Theatre. Image by Mark Garvin
Walnut Street Theatre’s 2017-18 Independence Studio on 3 ends with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me on a Sunday. The charming little space on the 3rd floor of America’s Oldest Theatre is the perfect spot for this equally charming show about a young woman who comes to America to search for love and start a career.
Tell Me on a Sunday is the story of an unnamed young woman who follows her heart, and her dreams, to the Big Apple from her small hometown in England. This is a one-act, one-woman show, though “the girl” does banter back and forth with the musical’s pianist (Ryan Touhey) who sits behind a screen on stage. Obviously, music is a big part of Tell Me on the Sunday, as it tells the story. But even without, actress Julia Udine (from neighboring Camden, NJ) can hold her own. She breezed through the show and it is very comfortable in this role.
While love may have been what this woman was looking for upon arrival in NYC, she instead found heartbreak (quite a bit). Through it all though, she learns to be true to herself and despite her relationships with a Hollywood producer, a salesman, and a married man, she realizes why she really did want to come to America. Her desire to succeed…without needing anyone but herself.
Flawless as “the girl”, Udine is quite the performer. She easily can switch emotions and bounce from one motion to the next without skipping a beat. You laugh with her, feel her pain at times, and root for her. She makes this character so believable. Udine has been recently seen as Christine in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera, and even toured the US as part of the show’s 25th Anniversary cast. We’re lucky to have her at Walnut Street Theatre for a brief time and theatre fans should not miss the opportunity to catch her here in Philadelphia.
Opening in 1982 on London’s West End following trial performances, Tell Me on a Sunday went on to receive great reviews. In 1985, the show received a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Role when Bernadette Peters starred in Broadway’s first production. Marti Webb, who originated the role of “the girl” in the ’80s, returned to Tell me on a Sunday in 2013 as part of a tribute to the show’s lyricist Don Black. The performance resulted in a limited run due to popular demand. Touring productions have continued since. Some critics say this show’s music is some of the best Andrew Lloyd Webber has ever written. “Take That Look Off Your Face”- which became a #3 hit in the UK charts in 1980- has been stuck in my head since the show ended. See it for yourself and let us know what you think. It’s a little show that seems to have had a big impact. It’s the perfect performance to conclude Studio 3’s season.
For tickets and a list of upcoming shows, visit Walnut Street Theatre’s website here.